The Ateneo de Davao University’s Appropriation of Gender and Human Rights Culture

AUTHOR/S:  Romeo T. Cabarde, Isabel S. Actub, Pilariza R. Baldovino, Rhodalie O. Emilio, Fil-Amor Tuto

DATE COMPLETED: January 2017

KEYWORDS: Gender, Human Rights, Culture, Ateneo, Davao, University, Jesuit, Catholic, Filipino, Research


                   Ateneo de Davao University, being a Catholic, Jesuit and Filipino University is challenged to breathe life into the university’s vision-mission of promoting gender equality and human rights. Before it asserts a society that encourages a rights-based and gender-responsive development agenda, it must, as an institution, embody the same principles as a genuine commitment to its threefold identities.

                 Hence, the audit of its appropriations of gender and human rights culture in all areas of its organizational life. Specifically, the study gathered literature from Catholic Social Thought, Jesuit documents and State Laws regarding the different expressions of gender and human rights. It also provided an inventory of the various manifestations of gender and human rights compliance within and outside the university  – what it does and what it does not.

                The “Web of Institutionalization” authored by Caren Levy served as a guide in the analysis of the University’s culture regarding its responsiveness to human rights and gender.  The inquiry covered thirteen areas of the institutional processes: narratives of men and women, political commitment, resources, the pressure of political constituencies, policy/planning, representations, the location of responsibility, procedures, staff development, delivery of programs, methodologies, research and theory building.

                  The methods used literature review, secondary data analysis, key informant interviews and focus group discussion. The audit showed among others that the university is operating with women workers (51%) being slightly more than men (49%).  The College Unit of Ateneo de Davao University has a total student enrolment of 8,480 and from this, 43% are male, and 57% are female. The schools that are mostly populated by female students are the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Business and Governance, School of Education and the School of Nursing.   Most of the students from the School of Engineering and Architecture are male.

                 The data also affirmed that there is an existing culture of open discourse and dialogue in the university as regard the promotion of gender sensitivity and human rights. An example of this is the fact that the university openly accepts students, faculty, and staff regardless of religion, race and social status, including sexual orientation and gender identities. Internal practices also observe some degrees of transparency, participatory and accountability principles. Very essential in the findings is the political will of the leadership and its support by providing resources to allow the promotion of gender and human rights engagements in the university.

                Critical in reinforcing the mainstreaming work in the university, the demonstrated political will implies that the institution as duty bearer respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of its claim holders,  the employees, students and the communities it serves.

       However, there remains a need to develop the sense of stakeholdership among the members of the University in support of gender equality and respect for human rights. The study recommends a suitable conscientization process.

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